“What—oh what—happened to you Aaliyah.” I repeat these words as I stare into my reflection. “When did you go from Aaliyah Greene back to the loser whose name shan’t be spoken?” I sigh. I must remain strong. I need to be the brown-haired, purple-eyed, beautiful woman that everyone adores so greatly. It’s when I show weakness that I’m disliked after all.
“I know it’s hard, but you are Aaliyah now, and you love yourself.” Yes, that’s right, I love Aaliyah…
I approach my desk with a slow and saddened gait. Apparently my pep talk wasn’t enough to cheer me up. I let out another sigh, this one significantly larger than the last. Contained inside the drawer is my last remaining photograph of my parents and I together. I know we didn’t get along a lot, but they were decent people.
My dad with his strong cheekbones and buzz cut. He was awkwardly shaped, with a long torso and stubby legs. A shape that most women wouldn’t find overly attractive, but my mom—who frequented animal print and curlers—was deeply in love with him. So much so that she insisted we follow him all over the country—and with each move, I became less popular.
I allow a puddle to form in my eyes and a tear to trickle down my face and soak the photographed version of my bare face.
“Well that’s enough of that, Missy. You need to visit Kam tomorrow.” Since visits to the hospital always seem to go so well. I roll my eyes, close them, and the moment fades into darkness.
“There’s a child here!” A man yelled as I sat in the fetal position, hiding in a corner.
“Well are they breathing? Get them out of here!” The man who found me turned to his radio and muttered some numbers into it. Twelve I think was one of them, not that I understand his jargon.
I feel myself being swooped up, though my eyes were forced shut out of fear of what I might see if I opened them. Alas curiosity took over and I peered to the side: two people, whom I know so well, looking completely unfamiliar. Their bodies are charred and beaten. I yelp but close my eyes again before I see anymore.
I sit in a wheelchair in the ambulance (as they decided a stretcher was not needed). I flashback to the last time I was in an ambulance after having overdosed on Advil. This was the same yet different. Like the last time, they hooked me up to the vital machine and explained the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. They pointed to my heartrate, or HR as they call it, and tell me that it should be between 60 and 100 BPM. Unlike last time, they say I’m tacky. The cuff squeezes and I realise for the first time how much physical pain I’m in. My hand is charred and I think my shoulder is broken.
We enter through the ambulance entrance to the ER which means I get first priority rooming. As I get shifted from my chair to the bed, I begin to close my eyes and try to picture the one who did all this to no avail. I sense a presence and open my eyes to see a doctor standing over me.
“I regret to inform you of this, and many of our nursing staff felt that we should wait until you’re in a better state to tell you this, however, the consensus was that we get it over with before the meds kick in. Your parents have not survived this incident. Between the abuse and their bodies being burned, fate was not on their side.” I scream.
My screams manage to defeat my deep slumber. That was—horrifying. I readjust my widened eyes to a squint that only lets enough light in for me to gather my whereabouts and check the time. Wow, I really slept in, it’s almost noon.
The nurse in today reports to me front and centre as soon as I arrive. “My name is Jakob Finkbeiner and to whom do you wish to visit with?”
“Erm… Kamala Misra… please.”
“K.M. is right this way, but she’s still not accepting visitors, so you’ll have to wait outside the room with the rest of your friends.” My friends?
I walk slightly behind Jakob and get a good look at my surroundings. Today holds some familiar faces and a few ones that are too battered to know if I’ve seen them before.
“It’s just awful what’s happened to all these people, don’t you think?” My head turns abruptly to see the detective standing next to me.
“Oh, I know. I couldn’t imagine—“Aaliyah, you’re Aaliyah “I mean, I can’t imagine my face looking like theirs. Could you? Oh, that’d just be an injustice to society. Would you not agree?” He gives a half-hearted nod. I suppose I’ll take it for now, considering the circumstances and all.
“Miss, if you don’t mind, may I ask you a question or two?”
I prepare myself for some hard-hitting questions and am thrown against the wall when I hear “What can you tell me about Ms. Anderson”. It wasn’t so much the question, but the way he said her name. Like woah, could you be any more obvi?
“Well she’s kind of a… how should I put this?” I see him look up, his heart just about in pieces as I go to use the term Ice Queen. “She’s a real special person.” I choked a bit on the word special, even though I know I didn’t mean it well. Luckily, he didn’t catch onto either of those things.
“Oh, right.” Realising how unprofessional he’s sounded the past few minutes, he turns the conversation around by saying that he agrees that she doesn’t seem like a likely suspect. Not that I said that at all.
I walk towards the rest of the group. “Hey look, the bitch is here.” I hear Alex murmur to the others.
“I resent that you know. Hah, and you.” Unaffected by my comment, she turns away. I look in at Kam and see her frail body. It had been practically torn to smithereens and now she lies, resting in the fetal position. With every movement, her body tugs on the tubes inside of her. I see the NG tube being run and suddenly the calmness of the others isn’t enough for me. A voice inside of me roars and I set it free. “Did you not hear me? I said I resent you.”
“Yes, we all heard you. I just don’t give a fuck what you have to say.”
“Oh, I’m so hurt by that, Dearie.” I elongate the ‘so’ for extra sarcasm.
“Honestly, what is your problem?”
Flashbacks flood my thoughts; I think it’s time they know. “My parents didn’t die of natural causes, they were murdered.”